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Shingles Vaccination
Old 07-10-2014, 02:12 PM   #1
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Shingles Vaccination

I had a physical on Tuesday and asked for the Shingle vaccination shot (I am only 55). My wife had the shingles last year, and based on her pain, etc. I would not wish those on my worst enemy! But since I am not 60 I had to pay for it, but I figured $200 is well worth it. The info I got said that people who get the shingles vaccination had a 50% reduction in getting the shingles and less pain if they did get them. Not the best odds but still better than nothing I suppose, and cheap insurance is how I viewed it.

Had a little hassle with the nurse giving the vaccination as there was some medical such and such criteria they follow that only allows for them to give it to someone over 60. So the odd thing is she hands me the phone and has me call member services. Which I do and they say if I pay for it, it is fine. She comes back and I tell her that and she gives me the shot. But I could just have easily lied! Luckily for me the lady at member services said it was fine but what would they have done after the fact if I had just told her they said it was okay when it wasn't! Strangest protocol I have ever seen.

Two days and no reaction to the shot, so I guess it is working. Even the 50% reduction number I said above seem suspicious. How would you determine that? Not everyone gets shingles so how do you know if the vaccination gives you a 50% reduction? Not complaining mind you-anything, even a placebo, would be worth it to stave off that pain my wife went through
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:20 PM   #2
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I got mine the week I turned 60 and even thou it was "covered" by Blue Cross it still cost me 90 bucks, so maybe you didn't pay an extra 200 dollars anyway.
I personally know 3 people in the 60- 62 who were going to get one, but never got around to it and got shingles. Two of the three said it was "agony" and that they felt even worse knowing they could the prevented or lessened the shingles by getting the darn shot.

That inspired me to get mine ASAP, so at least someone learned from their suffering..
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:41 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by hakuna matata View Post
Two days and no reaction to the shot, so I guess it is working.
Your reaction or lack thereof has nothing to do with the protective effect of the vaccine on your body. Your immune system is busy making antibodies without any visible signs.

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Originally Posted by hakuna matata View Post
Even the 50% reduction number I said above seem suspicious. How would you determine that? Not everyone gets shingles so how do you know if the vaccination gives you a 50% reduction? Not complaining mind you-anything, even a placebo, would be worth it to stave off that pain my wife went through
Welcome to the field of epidemiology! These numbers come from research studies on large populations. Properly designed research studies will compare incidence and a validated measure of symptoms in two populations, one of whom gets the vaccine, while the other gets a placebo. Some people who get the vaccine will get the disease, but their odds of doing so are 50% lower than those who are not vaccinated. But of course if you are one if the unlucky vaccinees who does get the disease, your odds are now 100%.

Here are a few references for your reading pleasure:

The relevant paragraph here is Efficacy.
Statement on the Recommended Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccine: An Advisory Committee Statement - Canada Communicable Disease Report (CCDR) Vol.35 ACS-1 - Public Health Agency of Canada

This is Reference #32 from the previous link.
MMS: Error

Shingles vaccine effectiveness varies with age - Health - CBC News
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:10 PM   #4
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I got it when I turned 60 and it was free on my insurance.
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:12 PM   #5
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Got shingles in 2012 at age 56. Folks, get the shot! I'm not kidding, some people do not make a full recovery from it (me). I still have electrical twinges two years later.
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:14 PM   #6
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Oh yeah, forgot to mention the pain. Think of the worst leg cramp you have ever had and move it to your back and multiply by 100X. Felt like being run through with a sword.
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:14 PM   #7
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Not that I've ever been run through with a sword.
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:18 PM   #8
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heeyy_joe if my wife was any indication it is extremely painful. My wife has a high pain threshold and I have never seen her so miserable. I have seen her handle a lot of things but she said the shingles just were too much.

I think she would have kicked my butt if I had come back and hadn't got the shingles vaccination!

thanks for the links Meadbh!
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:39 PM   #9
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Can you get shingles twice? Mr. A. has had them already (no pain, just a hideous oozing rash, which cleared up quickly with medication).

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Old 07-10-2014, 04:53 PM   #10
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Can you get shingles twice? Mr. A. has had them already (no pain, just a hideous oozing rash, which cleared up quickly with medication).

Amethyst
Unfortunately, yes.

Shingles Recurs More Often Than Thought
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:22 PM   #11
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I haven't checked the recent progress on this, but six years ago watched a friend suffer miserably from shingles, around the waist... and another neighbor who lost 80% of her eyesight from the disease. (In an older community, there is no dearth of victims, of all kinds of ailments).

Since we have medicare D, we decided to get the shots, but found, (at the time) that none of the major Pharmacies... CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Tarjay, kept the vaccine on hand, because of the sort shelf life. The only pharmacy that had the vaccine on hand was an old downtown store. The pharmacist was an 85 year old man who was running a ghost store (displays from the 1970's)... but was smart enough to advertise that the vaccine was available in his store.

He apologized for the $6 he charged each of us for the injection... and the shot cost us $Zero.

The local hospital, and a health clinic now have twice-a-year one day "specials", (reduced costs).

Am sure times have changed, and things are different now, but look back at the fun trip to this old pharmacy... and pharmacist (who, I'm certain will leave a great inheritance.)

"tis an ill wind...."

Oh!... BTW... no pain or reaction... do you suppose it could have been just water?... Anyway, we are shingles free (so far)... and feel invincible.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:35 PM   #12
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The really good news on this for me was twofold. First I had a very good checkup! Always great to hear your doctor say you are doing well. Weight is fine, blood pressure, cholesterol was good, etc. I wasn't concerned about any of that, but it is always good to hear it from a professional.

BUT from my viewpoint I now have a frame of reference on my Tetanus shot! I swear every time I go to the doctor (which I admit isn't often) they ask me when was my last tetanus shot, and I never can remember so I always end up getting another one.

Now I have a frame of reference though.
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:47 PM   #13
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Thanks for the reminder. The shingles shot was on my mind last year, but then I kind of forgot about it. Back to being high priority!
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:05 PM   #14
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Yes thanks for making the point, I see DR. in 3 mos. time to get it done. Don't care if I have to pay. I remember DF having them, he said it was the worst most painful thing he'd had in 80 some years. He was a tough old guy, so I'm convinced I don't want the disease.

It was the only time I'd ever heard DF "loaded", words slurred, not making sense..... I think they we're giving him oxy, but he claimed it did nothing for the pain.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:07 PM   #15
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Even the 50% reduction number I said above seem suspicious. How would you determine that? Not everyone gets shingles so how do you know if the vaccination gives you a 50% reduction?
It's very simple, in the un-vaccinated population X% of people get shingles, in the vaccinated population X is reduced by 50%.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:25 PM   #16
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One of my sisters got shingles on her face and eye when she was 55... now she is 62 and still feels pain with strong winds...


I got mine a couple of years ago and paid for it myself... like the OP, to me it is cheap insurance...
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:48 PM   #17
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Thanks for the reminder...I need to get it soon.
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:54 PM   #18
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I had a very mild case of shingles immediately after I had a flu shot. As it turned out, flu shot sometimes has shingles vaccine in it. But when I went to my doctor, he absolutely refuted that the flu shot I had shingles vaccine in it. I left it at that. Either I was really lucky to have a mild case of shingles, or I was reacting to a flu shot with shingles vaccine in it. I'd never know.
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:06 AM   #19
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It's very simple, in the un-vaccinated population X% of people get shingles, in the vaccinated population X is reduced by 50%.
Also, of the 50% of the vaccinated population who get Shingles, the cases are much less severe. This is probably an even greater benefit for them than the 50% who don't get it. The latest studies, like the Kaiser study, are very convincing and current evidence supports almost everyone over 50 getting the shot, including those who have already had shingles.

I was shocked when I got shingles at age 47 (lower back). But when you are younger, it normally doesn't affect you as much because your immune system is stronger. I had only slight pain, and only when I was exercising hard. The rash was visible but all under the skin and not that bad at all. I like the earlier poster's description of an electric shock type feeling, that is what mine would be like. Mine was mild enough that I don't think I started taking the acyclovir soon enough to make any difference as I realized that I had already had the shingles for almost a week.

I have convinced a lot of people to get the vaccination. I was in the USA last month, and my Aunt and Uncle, both in their 70's, were thrilled to tell me that they finally got the vaccination after much prodding from me. I hope to get the vaccine around age 50.

Unlike most vaccine preventable diseases, the chances of you getting shingles is much higher without the vaccine (probably 30% in your lifetime). So the benefit of the vaccine is quite high.
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:47 AM   #20
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heeyy_joe if my wife was any indication it is extremely painful. My wife has a high pain threshold and I have never seen her so miserable. I have seen her handle a lot of things but she said the shingles just were too much.

I think she would have kicked my butt if I had come back and hadn't got the shingles vaccination!

thanks for the links Meadbh!
+1
My wife is tough when it comes to pain threshold and almost never complains but this was different. Two nights in a row she woke me up around 3AM with chest pains and both times I had to rush her to the hospital. Fortunately it is only a few miles away. When the doctor asked her to rank the pain from 1-10 she said 9. The first night she was released with no conclusion. The second night she was admitted to the hospital for 2 days undergoing all kinds of tests that came up negative. Finally it was determined to be shingles when the rash appeared circling her right chest around to her back. That was 3 weeks ago and she is still fighting it.

We both had the shots 2 years ago. I sure hope I'm in the other 50% group.
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